When the final whistle blew after recent home wins over Herne Bay and Whyteleafe, Sittingbourne players leapt in the air whooping their delight.
Their reaction to this win, which maintains their unbeaten home record in the league this season, was altogether different and far more restrained.
They even looked a little sheepish, for this was by far from a vintage Sittingbourne performance against quite talented and awkward opponents.
But a win’s a win, it’s three points whether you play well or badly, and the victory takes them back up to fifth in the Bostik South League table.
For this match, squeezed in between sunshine and showers, Sittingbourne made just one change from the starting line-up on Tuesday, when their unbeaten start to the season was ended at Faversham. Back came David Smith out wide, with Tom Loynes reverting to the No 10 role, and George Blake dropping down to substitute.
VCD had let in more goals in the division this season than any other team, and they showed why with just a minute played. Chris Eliiott hit a free-kick into the area and while the visiting defence hesitated, top scorer Bola Dawodu was left completely unmarked to head easily home.
The north Kent side hadn’t even got the ball out of their own half at that stage, but it only took them five minutes to equalise, Darboe converting a right-wing cross at the far post.
Sittingbourne went close to restoring their lead with Smith volleying wide and Kane Rowland heading just over, but VCD were well in the game the rest of the first half and Daren Hawkes had to make a smart tip-over from Baker’s header.
VCD were giving the Sittingbourne defence quite a test, one of the toughest they’ve had this season, but they stood up to it well and went in front again nine minutes into the second half.
Kane Phillip crossed from the right and with Loynes pressing from behind, VCD captain Duncan could only head his attempted clearance beyond his own keeper into the net.
There was a welcome return to action as substitute by Miles Cornwell and he immediately opened up the VCD defence with a shrewd run only to hit his shot just wide of the far post.
VCD wouldn’t lie down and equalised for a second time when Darboe outmuscled Lex Allan to chase down a long through ball and score comfortably. Not sure why his colleagues didn't bother to run to congratulate him, though.
Sittingbourne lost captain Ben Gorham to injury which meant the last 25 minutes with Allan joined in central defence by recent signing John Coker, but the two of them stood up to the test well.
It was the home side who mounted more pressure and Phillip had a close range effort blocked and then Loynes got clear but unselfishly tried to set up Rowland only for VCD to scramble the ball away.
But it was from the resulting corner that Sittingbourne got the winner, Elliott providing his second assist of the afternoon as he swung it in for Coker to rise highest in the six-yard box and head home.
VCD still had time to miss a great chance to equalise but Sittingbourne held out for all three points, a welcome bounce-back from the Faversham midweek setback.
Those thrilling wins over Herne Bay and Whyteleafe set such a high standard that it was probably never going to be maintained, but that’s
10 points out of 12 at home this season for Sittingbourne. And that’s promotion form!
Ken Medwyn's Photo and Video Highlights follow
Michael Sayce's Photographs follow
Match Day Programme
Bola Dawodu 2 mins
Tom Loynes 49 mins
John Coker 83 mins
Kemo Darboe 7 mins
Kemo Darboe 61 mins
Referee: Christopher Bodell (Enfield)
Assistants: Ibrahim Alphie (South Woodfrod)
Roguez Olivier (Tower Hamlets)
Ben Gorham (C) (John Coker 66 mins)
Kane Phillip (Tyron Guthrie 71 mins)
David Smith (Yellow) (Miles Cornwell 55 mins)
Subs not used: George Blake, Harry Brooks
Derek Duncan (Yellow)
Rashid Kamara (Emmanuel Osei 83 mins)
Aymun El-Moyhalbel (Kujo Awotwi 46 mins)
Subs not used: Marc Gorbell, Alastair Gordon, Stefven Carvelli
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